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Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Wait a second here.
What is MLB doing with this ‘universal DH’ thing in the middle of a pandemic?
All of a sudden, we right-thinking baseball fans are the pawns in a sinister game of three-card monte.
MLB is saying to us regular, law-abiding, National League-loving baseball fans: “Hey! Look over there!” And when we turn our heads — whoosh! — they’ve pinched our wallet, and our beloved game of baseball as the gods intended it.
See, here’s the deal. I like baseball. I like nine guys, nine gloves, nine bats. Here’s the key: SAME GUYS.
For you kids out there, in 1973, the American League adopted the Designated Hitter, in one of America’s lowest moments as a civilization. It was a capitulation to some sort of belief that the game “needed an offensive boost” or some nonsense. Mind, this was during the same time baseball thought concrete-hard AstroTurf was OK, not to mention actually driving carts *from the bullpen to the mound.* True story, kids. So it was an Era of Bad Ideas.
(I should also note that the American League is the same league that gave us the cheatin’ 1919 Black Sox. So, you do the math.)
The National League, the league of Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, held firm. No DH. See my above “Nine guys, nine bats, nine gloves” thought. In other words, baseball.
So for the last 47 years we’ve had a sometimes-fun back-and-forth with AL style vs NL style; other times it verges on holy war.
But for 47 years, the NL has held firm.
Now, with COVID-19 turning everything upside down, it appears some foul thinkers at MLB are using what ex-Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel used to say about politics: Never waste a good crisis.
Meaning — when things are in crisis mode, the old rules don’t apply. If you’re a politician and you want to push through some massive legislation or make a crucial appointment or move some money from there to here … do it in a crisis, when nobody is thinking straight.
I get it. Never waste a good crisis. Macchiavelli would approve.
But I don’t think Madison Bumgarner would.
And I’m not just saying this as a “Bumgarner took Kershaw deep! No DH!” sort of way. I mean, I sorta do mean it that way, but more important, I mean it to say that the NL-style of ball is so much more pure, so much more true to the game’s intent, and so uncluttered with guys who DON’T EVEN BRING A GLOVE TO THE YARD that I can’t stomach the idea of a universal DH sliding into our lives — and never leaving.
See, that’s the key. I think the more nefarious types at MLB are sliding this in so that it never leaves. See my Rahm Emanuel thought above for further study.
And I don’t like it.
I know, I know, the MLB Players Association has reportedly wanted the National League DH, because it means likely an extra roster spot, and more jobs. I get that. But we don’t get everything we want in this world. Sometimes, cooler heads need to prevail. And baseball as a game, where the same nine guys are in the lineup at the same time, is what a cooler head would choose to prevail.
All I’m saying is, I see you, MLB. I see you trying to sneak a fastball past us. But I’m here for the true believers to turn on that fastball and drive it deep into the gap of rejection.
No Justice, No Peace and … No Universal DH!